The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has voted to investigate allegations by Nvidia that certain Samsung products use graphics technology that infringes GPU patents owned by it.
"We are pleased with the ITC decision today to open an investigation and look forward to presenting our case on how Nvidia GPU patents are being used without a license", said David Shannon, Nvidia's executive vice president and chief administrative officer.
The products in question include the Galaxy Note Edge, Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 3, and Galaxy S4 mobile phones, as well as the Galaxy Tab S, Galaxy Note Pro, and Galaxy Tab 2. While most of these devices use Qualcomm mobile processors, including the Snapdragon S4, 400, 600, 800, 801 and 805, there are some that sport Samsung's own Exynos mobile processors.
The decision comes around a month after the chipmaker presented the ITC with its complaint. In addition, the company also filed a lawsuit in the Delaware District Court seeking damages for infringement.
"Instead of developing its own graphics processing technology, Samsung purchases and uses Qualcomm's infringing processors and GPUs, as well as other processors and GPUs that infringe the claims of the asserted patents", Nvidia had said in its complaint.
If successfult, this could end up being a big blow for Samsung as the litigation involves hundreds of millions of the South Korean company's products. The investigation comes just months after the world's biggest smartphone maker was slapped with a lawsuit from Microsoft for failing to pay its year-two Android royalty payment on time, as well as interest for the same.
In recent years, the ITC has become an attractive place for patent litigation, primarily because it can move quicker compared to other courts. If the commission finds merit in a complaint, it can also impose a sales ban on products infringing the patent, which could severely hurt a company's profits.